“Come on, talk to someone, you look like a statue, Plel!” Bertrina scowled at the frozen Plel Harkoff, who had been standing next to a tree just beyond the low hedges to the garden’s east.
“Don’t do this to me, Bertrina,” Harkoff found the hedge more interesting to talk to. “You know what I’m like, I’ve never been much of a talker.”
“Not much of a talker!” Bertrina almost spilt her drink hissing at the man who refused to move from the tree. She glanced quickly back at the party behind her, closer to the house. “Plel, you’re a gutless wonder!”
“Why, hello there Miss Humphries! And Mister Harkoff! Yes! Hello, hello!”
Betrina surreptitiously dug her elbow into a very soft spot in Harkoff’s ribcage.
“AH! I mean, uh, hello Field Marshall Parsty,” Harkoff squirmed in his suit.
“I think you deserve all the praise you get, since your Qruv Operation was such a success, Sir,” Bertrina beamed.
“Oh I think Harkoff here deserves quite a bit of the credit - he’s a regular superman, haven’t you heard?”
Bertrina stifled a cough, and continued grinning, “Whatever can you mean, Field Marshall?”
“Why, your good friend Harkoff here surely must take credit for his superb covert activities!”
“Covert activities, Field Marshall?”
Harkoff was met with a mighty glare from Miss Humphries, and he proceeded to study the artwork on the wall opposite.
“You don’t know?” The Field Marshall interrupted Shrendig’s conversation to Mallow behind him.
(“Terribly sorry… I forget where I am..”
“No, no, please - I’m sure she wants to know,” Shrendig’s bemused expression only further confused Mallow - Shrendig’s inescapable, now hour-long conversation with him had detailed the function of every Jousen administrative office involved in rope measurement and its flow on effect on the enlightenment of Gremanese religion. Shrendig would successfully prevent the businessman from talking to any of the high-ranking military personnel, who had destroyed half of the equipment he had funded in the push for the Great Plains. To Mallow, his investment in the Nelen military still appeared sound.)
“My dear, Harkoff is the greatest spy Nela has ever seen! If it hadn’t been for him, we never would’ve taken back the Great Plains - he singlehandedly decieved the Gremanese into retreat!”
“Really, now? Oh - look! Is that the time?” Humphries stormed from the busy garden, dragging Harkoff with her into the main loungeroom of the host’s house. Harkoff found himself sitting in a remarkably comfortable sofa, and the object of a heated rage.